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Modi in UK: Modi sells brand India at Wembley

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London: Asserting that diversity was India’s pride and strength, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hard sold brand India during his much-awaited address to the Indian diaspora here even as he urged industry captains to push India-Britain ties.

“India is full of diversity. This diversity is our pride and our strength,” Modi said as a frenzied crowd of 60,000 British Indians chanted “Modi, Modi” at the iconic Wembley Stadium here.

“Kabir and Rahim have been our inspirations. The Sufi tradition is the best antidote to terrorism,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Modi was hosted for lunch by Queen Elizabeth II.

“India has no reason to remain poor. I can say that after my experience during the last 18 months,” Modi, who started his Wembley speech in English and then turned to Hindi, said.

“Such a youthful nation like India cannot lag behind in development,” said Modi in his over an hour long speech.

He said the fact that the world’s confidence in India was increasing was proved by the fact that foreign direct investment into India has increased by 40 percent over the past year.

“It shows the increasing international confidence in India,” Modi said in the speech he delivered in Hindi.

“Two dreams that we are working towards — a clean India and India with 24/7 electricity,” he said.

Modi said that 18,000 villages in India that were not connected with electricity would get this basic facility within the next 1,000 days.

“The pace and direction of progress in India is such that the fruits of development will be seen very soon,” Modi said.

Modi said that by the year 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, he would ensure that there was 24 hours of electricity all over the country.

Much to the delight of the people of Gujarati origin sitting in the crowd, he announced the start of direct flights between London and Ahmedabad from December 15 this year.

Modi also thanked British Prime Minister David Cameron for the latter’s affection towards India and Indians.

“Whenever I meet the prime minister (Cameron), I find that he is very proud of the Indian community in UK,” he said.

Speaking ahead of Modi, Cameron sent the crowd into raptures by greeting them with “Namaste, Wembley” and said a time would soon come when there would be a British-Indian prime minister.

“It won’t be long before there is a British-Indian prime minister in 10, Downing Street,” Cameron said citing the contributions of British-Indians in various fields.

Britain is home to a 1.5 million-strong Indian diaspora, one of the largest in the world.

The British prime minister said that “India-UK ties are about people and about prosperity”.

He also backed India’s claim for permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

Adding to Modi’s pre-election Hindi slogan of “acche din aane wale hain”, Cameron said: “Acche din zaroor aayega” (Good days will definitely come).

A cultural extravaganza preceded Modi’s speech in which Indian pop and Hindi film playback singer Alisha Chinai belted out her evergreen “Made in India” number from the 1995 album of the same name. It was obviously in keeping with Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.

Apart from Alisha, British singer-rapper Jay Sean, Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor, and Indian violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, as also the London Philharmonic Orchestra, were among those who enthralled the crowd.

Keeping with the spirit of Diwali, the night that was charged with electricity, ended with a dazzling display of fireworks over the world famous football stadium.

Earlier on Friday, Modi asked industry captains to contribute to India-Britain ties since the political will of the two countries was well established.

Addressing the UK-India CEOs Forum here, Modi said it was for industry captains to push bilateral ties with Britain as the political will of the two nations’ leadership was well established.

“India and the United Kingdom are economically made for each other. This relationship has to be driven by private sector CEOs now,” Modi said.

Cameron, who also addressed the meeting, echoed Modi and said: “We both have the political will to take our political relationship forward.”

On Friday, in a signal honour to India, Modi was hosted to a luncheon banquet by Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace here. Modi gifted the British monarch a set of photographs from her first visit to India in 1961, award-winning Darjeeling tea, quality honey from Jammu and Kashmir Tanchoi stoles that are a speciality of Varanasi.

The Indian prime minister started his second day of his three-day visit to Britain by continuing one-to-one bilateral discussions with Cameron at the Chequers, the countryside retreat of the British.

On Saturday, Modi will leave Britain for Turkey where he will attend the annual G-20 summit.

(IANS)

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Twitter Takes Multiple Steps To Curb Misinformation Before Elections in India

More than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation

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Twitter, tweets, India
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Twitter is taking “multi-variable” steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information on its platform ahead of 2019 general election in India, Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said here on Monday.

Addressing a Town Hall-style meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category.

“The real problem is not misinformation per se as jokes can also be categorised as misinfomation. But misinformation that is spread with the intent to mislead people is a real problem,” stressed the Twitter CEO who is in India on a week-long maiden visit.

Dorsey, who got a rousing reception at IIT-D with the students wildly cheering the young entrepreneur, likened solving the problem of misleading information to that of addressing a security issue, or building a lock.

Twitter, India
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“No one can build a perfect lock, but we need to stay ahead of our attackers. AI could probably help,” Dorsey told the audience.

Earlier in the day, the Twitter CEO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and discussed various steps the social network was taking to curb the spread of fake news and boost healthy conversation on its platform.

Dorsey also met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama over the weekend. He was also expected to meet Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the wake of the growing criticism over Twitter’s role in the spread of misinformation and fake news as India faces Assembly polls in five states in November-December ahead of next year’s general elections.

Twitter, India
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter, along with other social media platforms, including Facebook, came under intense scrutiny of policymakers in the US for their failure to stop the spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts on their platforms during the 2016 Presidential election.

The micro-blogging site since then has stepped up its efforts to curb the spread of divisive messages and fake news on its platform.

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter recently announced that it would now delete fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviour.

India, elections
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the ‘Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi, India, VOA

As part of the new rules, accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts that were previously suspended for violating rules may be identified as fake accounts, Twitter said recently.

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom to Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

However, according to a Knight Foundation study released in October, more than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation during the 2016 US election are still active. (IANS)